Weight loss surgery is seen as a lifesaver for many. It has multiple benefits, including helping you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, reducing your risk for heart disease and lowering your blood pressure. But it also has shown to have a distinctive disadvantage for people with a natural addictive personality: an increased risk of addiction. This is even truer for those who had the laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.
The Research Study
The study in question was conducted by the New York Obesity Research Center and lead by Alexis Conason, PsyD. According to the study published in the October 15th, 2013 edition of Archives of Surgery, patients aren’t able to fulfill their need for food, so they are likely to turn to other substances. The link is between the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure and those with addictive personalities. This is only a small amount of patients, but they have a tendency to eat to deal with emotions and stress, so without food, they find other addictions.
The patients in the study included 23 men and 132 women who had this particular type of weight loss surgery. During the study, the patients filled out a questionnaire about their substance use before and after the surgery at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months post-surgery.
All of the individuals in this study suffer from an addictive personality, which causes them to because addicted to substances and habits quickly. Many of them were binge eaters, smokers, and drinkers. In the case of the individuals with a binge eating disorder, it caused them to go through periods of eating excessive amounts of food. They feel an inclination to overeat, just as someone addicted to cigarettes feels the urge to keep smoking. The problem with this personality type about weight loss surgeries is that even after surgery, they have a risk of addiction. So without food, they naturally turned to alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
Types of Substances
The main types of substances that the study looked at were the use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking cigarettes. The study didn’t show a difference when looking at each element individually, but an increase in a more broad use of substances.
An Increase in Substance Use
In most cases, the patient used multiple substances, such as drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, or even using recreational drugs as a way to deal with the lack of food. Among the different time periods, at 24 months after surgery, there was a significant jump in substance use.
This study and its findings show that individuals, who have an addictive personality, should get counseling before and after the procedure. This helps to avoid the triggers of needing to deal with certain emotions and feelings.